Industry Focus – Custodial Catering

The kitchen in any custodial environment is pretty unique but not just because of its location.  Not only does a prison kitchen provide vast quantities of food for inmates on a daily basis, it can also act as a training facility for offenders to aid their reintegration into society post sentence.  

A prison kitchen as a minimum, has to produce hundreds, if not thousands, of meals per day which is pressure in itself.  Adding on top any health, dietary, religious, or cultural requirements, it really is a high paced place to be.   In a restricted movement environment, food plays a leading role in the state of whole-prison moral.  Ensuring that every meal is as good as it can be, goes a long way to guarantee that behaviour stays within the acceptable parameters. Whilst menus aren’t the most extravagant, there is still a duty of care when it comes to providing nutritious meals.

Due to the numbers being catered for, each prison requires vast chilled and frozen cold storage along with catering equipment that will deal with the quantities required. The challenge for any HMP, when selecting the right equipment, comes down to ensuring that they are robust, efficient and technologically advanced so that they are capable of coping with the volume required to serve daily meals.  Most major UK manufacturers already have a range of equipment specifically modified for the custodial environment minimising risk to all where possible. 

Quite a few prisons within the UK provide their own catering related training to offenders.  Upon successful competition, this will leave the individuals with a City & Guilds qualification. The Clink Charity has also developed a range of programmes, as part of their Clink Integrated Rehabilitation Program, which provide training and experiences for individuals who are looking to enter the hospitality sector post release.  This has shown that the prison kitchen alone can reduce reoffending by over 30%.

The major constraint facing all prison kitchens is their budget allocation, with catering managers doing a lot with not very much.  The budgets in place are pretty restrictive, meaning there is not much left over for upgrades or even regular maintenance. However, new builds aside, a large percentage of kitchens are in need of urgent refurbishment. Where they in any other setting, any one of a number of agencies could have produced a prohibition notice by now.  Perhaps there should be more research completed on equipment efficiencies within those new and refurbished prisons to highlight how savings can be made and monies redistributed.   

Cook:Chill have the skill and experience in designing, supplying and installing both commercial catering and walk-in refrigeration equipment within the UK’s HMPs.  As independent suppliers of commercial catering and refrigeration equipment, we are not tied to a particular brand or manufacturer which allows us greater scope to work to your budget.

Give one of the Team a call on +441179 646 497 or follow the link below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.